Encyclopedia Titanica

Cats on the Titanic

Is there any evidence that there was a cat on the Titanic

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Cats on the Titanic

Cats on the Titanic

There are two main sources suggesting that there might have been a cat on the Titanic. Both date from some time after the sinking but are attributed to genuine crew members, albeit one of whom left the ship before she sailed for New York.

Violet Jessop

Violet Jessop.

Stewardess Violet Jessop wrote her memoirs in the 1930s but they were not published, in edited form, until 1998.  In the book she recalled:

Life aboard started off smoothly. Even Jenny, the ship’s cat and part of the crew, had immediately picked herself a comfortable corner she varied her usual Christmas routine on previous ships by presenting Titanic with a litter of kittens in April.

She laid her family near Jim, the scullion, whose approval she always sought on these occasions and who gave her a warm devotion.

Joeseph Mulholland

Joe Mulholland

The possibility that the Titanic's cat was about to produce a litter of kittens is endorsed by the account, made in the 1960s by Joe Mulholland.  He was engaged as a fireman and served aboard the Titanic on her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton.  In an interview for the Belfast News-Letter, he recalled:

Everywhere he has settled for a time Joe always has the company of a cat—because, he claims, “I owe my life to a cat and an old superstition.”

For Joe was on the Titanic when she left Belfast.

“I was leading stoker on the great ship. But I left her at Southampton before she sailed to her doom,” he said.

Before leaving Belfast Joe had taken the cat, “heavy in kitten,” on board.

“She had her kittens on the ship before we got to Southampton, but soon after arriving I watched her carry each one of them to the shore. I thought to myself, if she goes, I go.

And others came with me, too.

It was like a rat leaving a doomed ship,” he said.

In other accounts from around the time A Night to Remember was released, Mulholland indicated that he had a row with a superior and was let go, not mentioning the cat!

The credibility of these accounts is unknown, but it seems that major shipwrecks attract tales of prescient cats that decide to leave just prior to sailing.  Similar tales exist for both the Lusitania and the Empress of Ireland.

Is there a photograph of the Titanic's Cat?

This photograph was taken by Fr Browne and shows two passengers standing in front of a cargo crane.  At a very casual glance it looks like there might be a cat sitting on the base of the crane, but it is just part of the winch system.


Evening Express (Portland, Maine), 28 Jul 1958
[Composite banner image, not historically accurate!]


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Comment and discuss

  1. Steven Christian
    You can decide if you believe it or not. Look at the thread below. Cheers. https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/community/threads/jenny-the-titanic-cat.4868/
  2. Robert Dexter
    Thank you Steven! Much appreciated .
  3. Steven Christian
    Your Welcome. For the record I believe that Jenny the Cat was onboard. Not much of a stretch as cats have been on ships as long as there has been ships. Cheers.
  4. Greg Fox Greg Fox
    Cats have long been used to control rodents aboard ships. It would have stayed in the cargo and food stores areas rather than the passenger areas most likely
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Encyclopedia Titanica (2024) Cats on the Titanic ( ref: #788, published 29 April 2024, generated 19th June 2024 03:44:11 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/cats-on-the-titanic.html